The cool winter season in India is short lived, the majority of the cities enjoy winter till February, after which the Spring season kicks in, and the Celsius starts rising. This makes February the last winter month, and the best way to celebrate this month is by taking a trip to these few curated places in the country who are at their natural best during this time of the year:
Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir
Skiing in Gulmarg, Kashmir. Courtesy Peter.
Gulmarg Gondala, Kashmir.
Gulmarg is one of the most romantic places in India. Snow covered and adorned with evergreen pines forests, lush green meadows, and a canopy of blue skies, Gulmarg is a favorite for nature & snow lovers and thrill seekers as well. With February following heavy winter snowfall, it is the perfect time to fool around in the fresh snow and for skiing which is something Gulmarg is famous for and attracts a lot of adrenaline junkies. Still relatively virgin and less crowded than Manali or Shimla, if you are looking for a quiet trip, this should be your pick. Also do not miss taking a ride in Gulmarg Gondola, Asia’s longest cable car project.
How to reach Gulmarg:
Srinagar airport is the closest and well connected with the all the major cities. One can avail taxis from outside the airport to reach Gulmarg. The nearest Railway station is in Jammu, and one can take a taxi to Gulmarg directly also.
Goa Carnival in the month February.
October to January in Goa is usually very overcrowded and expensive due to the massive inflow of tourists wanting to celebrate New Year in Goa. February is the last month of winters here before the Celsius starts rising, the sun is not very hot, and the breeze feels pleasant, just ideal for a perfect tan. It is also a great month to visit Goa for Goa Carnival from Feb 25-28, 2017. The Festival started in the 18th century by the Portuguese is now an integral part of the Goa culture. The energy of the festival is contagious, parades, floats, music and masked dancing groups can be seen on the roads, a formal ball dance also takes place in Panaji called the Red and Black Dance. Just about enough reasons to visit Goa in February.
How to reach Goa:
Goa is a very busy domestic and International destination and has its own Airport, the Dabolim International Airport connected to all the major Indian cities and International cities as well. The major railway stations in Goa are Madgaon, Vasco Da Gama, and Thivim Railway Station. Also, many private buses connect Goa to nearby places. The drive to Goa is also considered to be one of the best.
Tiger at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
What better way to enjoy the receding winters but in wild, sighting animals basking in the sun. The soothing February afternoons are great to be spent in wildlife reserves like Ranthambore National Park. It is one of the largest and most famous Tiger Reserves in India and also home to exotic birds & reptiles. Summers can be scorching here, so give this seasons a miss and take a trip to this picturesque landscapes of Ranthambore.
How to reach Ranthambore:
Sanganer Airport is the nearest airport, located in Jaipur at a distance of 180 km from Ranthambore. Sawai Madhopur is the nearest railway station located at a distance of 10 km and is well connected with all major cities and towns. By road one can either hire a cab or self-drive from nearby cities.
Sula vineyard in Nashik.
One of the best Music Festivals in India is the Sula Fest that takes place in the land of the vineyards, in Nasik in February from 3rd-5th Feb 2017. This is truly an unconventional way to enjoy a trip amidst the vineyards accompanied with great music, food, and the best wines. Due to the uniqueness of this place and festival February sees a huge footfall in Nasik. You can also camp in the surroundings of the vineyards and wake up to the sight of beautiful grapes hanging from the vines. Be sure to book your tickets in advance.
How to reach Nashik:
Mumbai International Airport is the nearest airport to Nashik. By road via NH 3, Nashik can be reached either by cars, taxis or state-run or private regular or luxury coaches. Many trains also run between Nashik and Mumbai every day, which only takes 5 hours every day at frequent gaps.
Amar Sagar in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
Rajasthan the Land of Royals and one of the most stunning cities is the Golden City, Jaisalmer. Rajasthan in summers is definitely a no go. Rajasthan is best visited in winters, February being one of the pleasant months. Adding to this reason to visit Jaisalmer is the famed Jaisalmer Desert Festival which takes place from 8-10th Feb 2017. There can be no highlight to your Jaisalmer trip better than this. The Desert Festival is a stunning culmination of the pulsating culture, camel parades, camel races, polo matches, turban tying competitions.
How to reach Jodhpur:
Jodhpur Airport, 300 km away from Jaisalmer is the nearest airport. By train both broad gauge and meter gauge trains are available directly from Delhi, Jaipur, etc. ‘Palace on Wheels’ the most luxury train can also be availed at exorbitant prices. By road, state-run, as well as private buses and cabs, are readily available.
Yercaud, Tamil Nadu:
A tranquil getaway far from the usual touristy crowds is always a winner. One such hidden gem of a place is Yercaud in Salem District of Tamil Nadu, it is a mini Darjeeling and Ooty of sorts, only that it is less crowded and also an economical version of its counterparts. Abundant with lush green forests and crystal waterfalls adorning the place, there is enough beauty to heal your tired senses. Yercaud Lake, Killiyur Falls, Emerald Lake, The Servaroyan Temple, Deer’s Park, Bears Cave are some of the must-visit places here. And dense forests. One could also go hiking or trekking in the undulating landscapes to add a bit adventure to your trip if you like.
How to reach Yercaud:
The nearest airport and Railway station to Yercaud is the Salem Airport & Salem Junction which is at a distance of 16 km & 38 km respectively. Another airport is located at Trichirapalli, which is 165 km away. One can take cabs or buses from these stations to reach Yercaud.
View of Periyar Wild life Sanctuary.
It is always fun to mingle in the wild with the untamed, and one such place is Periyar – The country’s largest Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, Kerala. If you are a wildlife enthusiast or a keen wildlife photographer you have to indulge in this jungle experience. March onwards Kerala starts warming up, so February is the perfect time for a cozy family or trip with friends here. Abundant with not just Tigers, it is home to Deer, Elephants, Sambar & Nilgiri as well. An early morning boat ride in the sanctuary is the best way to spot the animals in their natural behavior. Not just this, do not miss Bamboo Rafting in the Mullaiperiyar Dam and Border Hiking in the wilderness.
How to reach Thekkady:
Thekkady is 136 km away from The Madurai Airport which is the nearest airport. Nedumbassery airport in Kochi is the closest International Airport. By train, the nearest railway station is Kottayam at 114 km, also all trains going to Trivandrum pass Kottayam. By road, it is well connected to all neighboring cities.
Ujjayanta Palace – Landmark of Agartala.
One of the underrated places which usually do not find a spot in the usual tourist places in India is Agartala in the northeastern state of Tripura. But what people do not know is that it is one of the best destinations if you are looking for a mix of cultural diversity and natural beauty. Home to Manikya kings in the past, Agartala is host to some brilliant architectural masterpieces such as Nir Mahal, Ujjayanta Palace, and Kunjaban Palace. To experience the natural beauty of this place visit Jampui hills, Sepahijala and Gondacherra wildlife sanctuary, all of these are splendid and untouched God’s creation. Agartala like most other Indian states enjoys February as the last winter month, so don’t think twice to try this unique location this year.
How to reach Agartala:
Agartala Airport is one of the busiest airports in northeastern India and connects other Indian cities like Kolkata, Imphal, Delhi, Guwahati, Bangalore, Chennai, etc. By train, Agartala is well connected to other major cities from stations Jogendranagar (JGNR), Agartala (AGTL). By road with it connects with Guwahati via Shillong by national highway no. 44. Both luxury coaches & cabs, public & private are available.